WIU alumnus Karla Beltchenko will return to Western as a guest choreographer for the performances. Beltchenko holds an MFA (dance, choreography focus) from the Trinity Laban Conservatory, London, UK, and a bachelor's degree in social work (2007) from WIU.
Her most recent artistic work, "The Collectors," an investigation combining movement and film, premiered in London in 2015, and had its Chicago premiere at Dance Shelter in 2016. Beltchenko choreographed a piece titled "Reflections" for the WIU performance. It is an investigation into expectations of time, place and relationships. It explores the ideas of how expectations shape the way we see ourselves, how others see us and also how we are shaped based on societal expectations.
"This piece was adapted from three separate solos and reworked into a cohesive piece based on the strengths of each individual performer," said Beltchenko. "As a choreographer, I like to focus my efforts on bringing out each performer's authentic self and movement vocabulary."
Other pieces which will be performed during the DanceWorks event include:
"Defining Miracles," choreographed by WIU junior musical theatre major Matthew Henry, of McLean, IL, is about an abstract telling of a girl with cancer.
"Papillion," (French for butterfly) choreographed by junior music major Marissha Devereueawax-Coates, of Rockford, IL, is loosely inspired by the opera "Madama Butterfly" and the play "M.Butterfly," by Asian American playwright David Henry Hwang.
"Cut Off Your Nose..What?," choreographed by Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Heidi Clemmens, is about a quick and quirky look at stubbornness with a soaring soundtrack by Mendelssohn.
"What Are You Looking At," choreographed by Theatre and Dance Instructor Lara Petrin, is about challenging the audience to think about what they are looking at during a performance, what they are focused on.
"From the Ashes," choreographed by senior exercise science major, dance minor Andrea Abarca, of Moline, IL, is an athletic modern piece.
"Grace," choreographed by junior musical theatre major Nissi Smith, of South Holland, IL, explores how being a Christian can sometimes get really hard, and how we feel trapped in our struggles, but the grace of God is powerful and can get us through anything.
Tickets for Winter DanceWorks, $15 for the public and $13 for senior citizens, are on sale now through Hainline Box Office, online at BCAbringstheStars.com, or by calling (309) 298-2900. Tickets are also available at the door and WIU students will be admitted free with valid student identification.